Quail Eggs Benedict With Smoked Salmon And Bearnaise Sauce

Even though they are small, quail eggs are loaded with vitamins, minerals, high quality protein and fat. One chicken egg is equal to 4 or 5 quail eggs. They taste nearly identical to hen eggs. Possibly a little richer, but otherwise no difference.

These eggs came from a second generation quail farm in South Carolina. This enterprise started as a hobby in Bill Odom’s back yard. Manchester Farms now delivers both eggs and frozen quail to high-end restaurants throughout the country.


Bring about 1 cup of water to boil in a small pan. You want enough water to cover the eggs. Using a slotted spoon, gently drop the quail eggs into the boiling water, reduce to a fast simmer and cook for just 2 1/2 minutes.

I used a sharp pairing knife to coax off the shells.

Adding about 1 tsp. of vinegar to the boiling water may make the peeling easier. I have also read that adding a bit of baking soda can aid the process, but no matter what you add, quail eggs are not easy to peel. With patience the shells do eventually come off. Immediately put the eggs into an ice bath. Let the peeling begin!

For the Quail Eggs with Bearnaise Sauce, I decided to fry the eggs. The trick here is that the inner membrane of the quail egg is much thicker and more rubbery than a hen egg. I thought you could crack the egg like you would a hen egg. Wrong.

After breaking one yolk, I carefully tapped the side of the egg with a sharp pairing knife and then inserted the point of the knife through the membrane to open the shell. I have since learned there is special tool for opening the eggs–Quail Egg Scissors.

Quail eggs are as versatile as hen eggs. To add to this hearty salad my friend Diana Makes made the other day, I soft boiled the eggs. They were delicious and yolks perfectly runny.

I left her with a few eggs and her friend, Joe cooked them up for breakfast.


Bearnaise is considered a daughter of Hollandaise, which is one of the 5 French Mother Sauces:

Bechamel, Veloute, Espagnole, Hollandaise and Tomato. Some claim there are 6 Mother Sauces with Mayonnaise being the 6th and some say there are 7 with Demi-Glace claiming that spot. Guess I’ll have to go to Le Cordon Bleu to get the answer!

This recipe is quick, easy and fail-proof. I used the Julia Child method of Blender Hollandaise, but strayed slightly from the classic ingredients as I didn’t have shallots or white wine. The sauce came out a little thick and if I’d added more melted butter it would have thinned out, but figured one stick of butter was enough. The ingredients are simple: egg yolks, melted butter, shallot (or onion), tarragon (fresh or dried), tarragon vinegar, white wine, lemon juice, salt and a dash of white pepper.

First, finely dice 1 small shallot or about 1/2 onion. Traditionally you would make an infused vinegar using the wine, vinegar, tarragon leaves, and shallot. I skipped that step and just added everything to the sauce in the blender. It came out perfectly.

Tarragon vinegar in the background.

Saute the onions or shallot gently in butter. Do not brown. Remove from the pan and in the same pan, melt 1 stick of butter.

Add the finely chopped onion to the blender. Next, add 3 egg yolks to a blender while it is running. Blend for about 5 seconds. With the blender running, next add the melted butter. Blend for about 1 minute.

And lastly add the tarragon vinegar. Blend for about a minute more until the correct consistency is formed. Remove to a bowl and add fresh or dried tarragon, salt, pepper, teaspoon of lemon juice. Serve warm.

Years ago when my husband, Jerry and I, were in Qualicum Bay on Vancouver Island we had a fabulous breakfast dish, called Eggs Qualicum, made with smoked salmon, poached eggs and Hollandaise. I made the same dish with fried quail eggs and the Bearnaise sauce. This sauce would also be excellent on classic Eggs Benedict used in place of the Hollandaise.

I put the Bearnaise sauce on top of the smoked salmon and under the eggs as I wanted the quail eggs to be the star of this dish. I added just a bit of sauce to the top.

Garnish with chopped chives.

Bearnaise sauce is also excellent on a beautifully grilled steak, it’s great with chicken thighs and adds a really nice twist to potato salad–just add about 2 Tbsp. and mix thoroughly with the mayonnaise.

Bearnaise Sauce With Smoked Salmon and Quail Eggs

Rich, velvety sauce enhances the salmon and eggs. The sauce is surprisingly easy to make!


  • 1/2 cup Tarragon vinegar
  • 1/2 small Onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried tarragon or 1 Tbsp. fresh leaves
  • 3 egg Yolks
  • 1 tsp. Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Butter (1 stick)
  • Dash White pepper


  • Saute the finely diced onion in 1 Tbsp. of butter until they are soft, but not browned. Remove from the pan.
  • In the same pan, melt 1 stick of butter.
  • In a high-powered blender, add the onion and pulse a few times.
  • Add the 3 eggs yolks and blend for about 5 seconds.
  • Next add the vinegar, lemon juice and salt. Blend for about 1 minute.
  • While the blender is still running on medium-high, slowly stream the melted butter through the top lid cap opening and blend until the mixture is emulsified and the right consistency; about 1 minute more. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more melted butter.
  • Remove from the blender into a small bowl. Add the dried (or fresh) tarragon, dash of white pepper and check for all other seasoning. Serve warm.


This sauce keeps well, covered in the fridge, for about a week, but does get thicker as it cools. To return to the right consistency, whisk vigorously and slowly add about 1 Tbsp. more melted butter. 










  1. Jerry September 4, 2023 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    Beautiful photographs and clear details for the preparation..

    • Cindy Rabbitt September 4, 2023 at 4:59 pm - Reply

      Thank you my love. I loved cooking Quail eggs for you!!

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